Friday, 6 December 2019

CSM: Marketplace in a Boot Christmas Market

Nyc Nat Nook is participating in their first Christmas Market in a boot! There will be accessories and craft kits available for clearance! So if you are looking for an affordable Christmas gift, please drop by our boot this Saturday morning!

Thursday, 5 December 2019

MPOV: The Paper Menagerie

Note: I've only read The Paper Menagerie and not the other stories
My rating: 4/5 is for The Paper Menagerie only
Goodreads rating: 4.39/5
First published: 2011
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: short story, Asian lit, magical realism

Jack, a little boy from Connecticut, enjoys playing with origami animals that his Chinese mother makes for him and that come to life when she blows into them. As Jack grows into a teenager he tries to fit in with his American friends and starts to ignore the origami animals and his mother, who tries very hard to speak English and change her habits in order to please him. After a family tragedy takes place Jack finds a message from his mother in one of the origami animals and learns about her past.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

I was truly surprised at the outcome of this short story. Though I'm not of mixed parentage, I can feel the emotional turmoil that Jack is experiencing. How much he's tried to belong, being American and eventually removing his own mother just because she's Chinese. I felt like I was in a 'Pensieve' (from Harry Potter)... watching, or rather reading, someone's memory, going through his journey. That ending definitely had me in tears. It was well written, such a lovely melancholy read indeed.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

MPOV: It's Getting Scot in Here (Wild Wicked Highlanders #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.99/5
First published: February 26, 2019
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Genre: historical romance, regency romance, romance fiction

London socialite Amelia-Rose Baxter is nobody’s fool. Her parents may want her to catch a title, but she will never change who she is for the promise of marriage. Her husband will be a man who can appreciate her sharp mind as well as her body. A sophisticated man who loves life in London. A man who considers her his equal―and won’t try to tame her wild heart...

Rough, rugged Highlander Niall MacTaggert and his brothers know the rules: the eldest must marry or lose the ancestral estate, period. But Niall’s eldest brother just isn’t interested in the lady his mother selected. Is it because Amelia-Rose is just too. . . Free-spirited? Yes. Brazen? Aye. Surely Niall can find a way to soften up the whip-smart lass and make her the perfect match for his brother for the sake of the family.

Instead it’s Niall who tempts Amelia-Rose, despite her reservations about barbarian Highlanders. Niall finds the lass nigh irresistible as well, but he won’t make the mistake his father did in marrying an Englishwoman who doesn’t like the Highlands. Does he have what it takes to win her heart? There is only one way to find out...

The above taken from Goodreads.

An enjoyable read overall though it was quite a lengthy one at the prologue. It's interesting that it covered the before and how it came to be without leaving us hanging dry. Thankfully the story weaved into an exciting adventure of how Niall finally getting his bride with unconventional ways. Well, him being a highlander, it sure wasn't surprising LOL.

My first Suzanne Enoch's and I did liked the way she plots with her unwavering prose. Well balanced and not too much on the skin with more attention to the adventure. Definitely looking forward to the remaining 2 books and sharing here a passage where I never knew reading was a horrid habit!!!

Monday, 2 December 2019

MPOV: Big Lies in a Small Town

I've received this e-book from Netgalley in return for my honest review.

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.5/5
Expected publication: January 14, 2020
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery thriller, suspense

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

The above taken from Goodreads.

This book alternates between Morgan and Anna, both talented artists in their own right but in a different era. Current era, Morgan is in jail for a crime she did not commit and has regretted her actions way back then. In the 40's, Anna has won a contest to paint a mural for a post office. With a stroke of luck, both their lives intertwined through another artist, Jesse.

The story started off strong, written with much angst and mystery which got me hooked from the first page itself. It didn't dilly dally and had me in anxious fit! Thankfully I was reading from my Kobo so I couldn't just flipped to the last page just to know the outcome LOL! It's my first Diane Chamberlain read and it has definitely piqued my interest in her other books. I've enjoyed this one a lot and I liked how she has plotted the events that lead up to the ending, with the right pace. At some point, I was starting to guess the culprit and somehow knew that would happened. However, it doesn't damper the spirit of the story and that ending was so unexpected for me.

As New Jersey is a modern state even then with Anna being an independent woman, it was quite appalling how Edenton still has slaves and the male chauvinism was still sky high. The story itself was so realistic that I imagined events from another book, The Color Purple. It's sad that no matter how much she tried, Anna was still unable to fit in. I guess that the eventuality of that unwanted event was a good turn, for both Anna and Jesse.

I liked how it ended for both Morgan and Anna. It was definitely a beautiful closure for me so much so that I had a withdrawal syndrome after finishing this book LOL! It's such a memorable read for me for sure! Thank you so much, Netgalley, for this opportunity to read such a lovely book!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

MPOV: A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.94/5
First published: February 28, 2012
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical romance, regency fiction

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Another first and it blew me away! I just couldn't get over the fact that Bourne is broken and Penelope is perfect which made them a perfect match! I guess I'm just partial to broken or badass men as it somehow seemed nice when they finally turned over a new leaf due to love. This novel is no exception.

Sarah MacLean sure has written it perfectly with the right nail biting pace with engaging plots making it hard to put it down! As with all romance novels, there is definitely a 'happy ever after' ending. It's how it was plotted that made the difference and I truly liked how this one ended... *happy sigh!* It sure has that feel good factor from the start until the end...

Some notable quotes:
"I am too imperfect for you," he whispered at her temple.
"You are perfectly imperfect for me."

I choose you. I choose love.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

MPOV: The Lady Risks All

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.88/5
First published: 2012
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical romance, regency fiction

Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor - until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.

Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability - until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.

Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore ... or keep.

The above taken from Goodreads.

First of all, this is my first Stephanie Laurens and I have heard many rave reviews of her novels. Unfortunately, either this is the wrong book to start off or all her books are written as such, I honestly do find that her prose is just too long winded for my liking. She can just write on continuously about the same scene or metaphor, elaborating unnecessarily at times. I just can't stand it as it does feel like an essay, ready to be dissected. All in all, a somewhat entertaining yet forgettable kind of novel for me.

Thankfully the plot was bearable so I was able to speed read and finished it. At least I know the ending, even though it's expected, 'happy ever after' and all LOL! Will try another novel of hers, just to gauge and hopefully it turns out better than this.

Some notable quote:

Some new words:
Woolgathering - indulge in aimless thoughts or daydreams

Ninnyhammer - this term for a person who is a fool or a simpleton has for the most part vanished except in works that consciously seek to evoke a bygone age through antique language

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

MPOV: When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Fairy Tales #2)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.06/5
First published: January 25, 2011
Author: Eloisa James
Genre: historical romance, regency romance

Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she's betrothed to a Beast.

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.

Linnet is not just any woman.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.

If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?

The above taken from Goodreads.

Apparently this is based on the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Of course with Eloisa James own spin of the fairy tale which I've truly enjoyed! This is my first read from this author and I was delighted it has kept me engaged from the start until the end! I liked how she has spent the first few chapters introducing the heroine and hero of this book. Slowly but surely it ploughed into the deep current and had them at scarlet fever!

A true beauty with an ill tempered beast! Such combination made a darn good romance novel! Of course, we would have anticipated the "Happy Ever After" ending but it's the plot that derives it made the difference. Such angst and fervour leading to that moment which had me glued to every pages so that I can quickly reached the ending! LOL! It truly was an entertaining read from the start to the end, looking forward to other Eloisa James books!

Here are some notable quotes:
Zenobia shook her head. "That's just the kind of remark that got you in this situation, Linnet. I've told you time and again, all that cleverness does you no good. People would like a lady to be beautiful, but they expect her to be ladylike, in short: sweet, compliant, and refined."

"I love you," he said, his voice catching. "When I thought you were going to die, I wanted to die."

New words in my book:
Fussocking - fat and hard to handle
Taradiddle - a fib, fabrication or pretentious nonsense
Irascibility - marked by hot temper and easily provoked temper
Ameliorating - to make better or more tolerable

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Crochet: Boo! Happy Halloween!

This is my recent creation, just in time for Halloween! It was inspired by Jack Skellington, a character in the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Are they scary enough? They seemed tame to me lah LOL!

I've crochet a Jack Skellington head with key ring and 2 bookmarks. What I've used:

  • acrylic yarn
  • styro-foam beads
If you are interested to learn crochet, you can give me a buzz or visit my Facebook page as listed on the right hand side of the blog. Crochet is a relaxing and therapeutic hobby once you get the hang of it :-)


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